Who’s the Better Christian?

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Judging_mini-727x300

Let’s try to guess which of these two men is doing more to expand the Kingdom of God.

We’ll call the first guy Kevin. Kevin gets up every morning at 5:30 a.m. and gets ready for a long commute into his downtown office where he works in middle management in the banking industry. He works hard because he has a family to support: a wife, three kids and a dog.

Calvin is our second guy – “Pastor C,” as the kids in youth group call him.

WATCH: How This Church’s Gift Saves Lives

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Silver Lake Church

This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for a small country church and its big-hearted members.

We first learned of Silver Lake Church of the Bible (Silver Lake, Oregon) from a simple letter. The story Pastor Leon Baker shared in that letter started in 2006.

After listening to a Focus broadcast, “The Lord laid it upon my heart to begin collecting for the purchase of an ultrasonic machine,” he wrote.

And for eight years, that’s what Pastor Baker and his congregation did.

Freedom of Houston Pastors Still at Risk

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Statue of Jesus

Last week’s bombshell out of Houston that its mayor, Annise Parker, had subpoenaed the sermons from area pastors is still causing ripples both inside and outside the faith community.

On Friday, city attorneys revised their demands. Instead of requesting the pastor’s sermons, they’re now demanding “all speeches or presentations” related to the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. The controversial law, also known as the “Bathroom Bill” allows men who consider themselves women to use the women’s restroom.

Focus Powers New Resource for Pastors

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Hello, my name is Pastor

October is Clergy Appreciation Month, so it’s a timely moment to let you know about Focus’ latest efforts to help pastors. We’re working with the North American Mission Board to power the organization’s care line for pastors.

I’ll let Michael Lewis, the group’s executive director of Pastoral Care and Development, tell you more:

At the North American Mission Board (NAMB) we are keenly aware of the daily pressures that come with serving as a pastor. 

Firsthand Account of Christians Fleeing from ISIS

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Middle East on Globe feature pic

We’ve all heard the horrible stories of persecution in the Middle East at the hands of ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria). The radical militant group is targeting people of various faiths and ethnic backgrounds with violence, including area Christians, forcing these people to flee their homes to save their lives.

Thanks to the generosity of many Focus friends, Sami Yacoub, the regional director of Focus on the Family Middle East, and his team have been helping the refugees.

How Mental Illness Impacts Families

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Depressed Woman

Many of you commented on and shared my recent blog post, “Could Robin Williams’ Faith Have Prevented His Suicide?”

That’s not surprising because mental illness directly impacts about one in four individuals… yet sadly, it sometimes seems that the Christian community doesn’t talk about the issue as often and as thoroughly we should.

Focus on the Family is hoping to help change that by helping families and churches better understand topics related to mental health – things like depression, bipolar and schizophrenia.

Praying for Our Christian Family in Iraq

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Man upset, praying

If you’ve had an eye on the news lately, you’ve no doubt heard reports about the terrorist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), more recently known as “The Islamic State.”

They’re a well-armed Muslim extremist group sweeping throughout Iraq, exercising both military and political control over the regions they conquer.

Just the other day we saw grisly images of the beheading of the American journalist, James Foley. ISIS claimed responsibility for his murder.

Beyond the political complications usually addressed on the nightly news are disturbing accounts that hit much closer to home for all of us who profess the name of Christ.

Ten Books Every Christian Should Read

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Mature woman lying on pier reading book, side view

Although not everybody has the luxury of enjoying a summer vacation, the season invariably lends itself to setting aside some time to read a good book. If you’re looking to pick one up, our online resource center is packed with exciting and entertaining titles.

Whatever your taste, I think you’ll find a title to your liking.

If you’re more inclined to invest in the classics (including some modern ones), the following list should be helpful to you.

Tell Us Why You’re Thankful for Your Pastor

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man wearing "Hello, my name is Pastor" sticker

The broadcast team and I are working on a program to honor our pastors, and we’d like your help.

As you may know, Focus celebrates Clergy Appreciation Month every October, a time when congregations can recognize the sacrifices, hard work and blessings of pastors and their families. These special people often live under incredible pressures. Simply put, it’s hard work being a member of the clergy.

So often pastors give up their own time to be there for their flock – giving up holidays to visit with sick people at the hospital, counseling couples through the tough times in their marriages, and helping congregants pray through milestone decisions.

Grief Without Despair: What Seattle Pacific University Students Taught Me

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young woman comforts friend

Earlier this month, a young male started shooting a gun at Seattle Pacific University, a Christian school. Before he stopped to reload his weapon, he had killed one and injured three others.

A 22-year old student, Jon Meis, put himself in harm’s way to stop the gunman from inflicting further harm. Meis used pepper spray to incapacitate the shooter before knocking him down. At that point, other students jumped in and helped subdue the shooter.

Bucking the narrative

Sadly, these stories of public shootings follow a familiar storyline by now.